Professional and amateur athletes routinely flock to Monterey County for prestigious athletic events like the Big Sur International Marathon, Sea Otter Classic, Spartan Race and the Monterey Bay Half Marathon. Most of these sports enthusiasts indulge in a strategy known as "carbo-loading" the night before a competition or race for optimal endurance and performance.

Luckily there are a plethora of eateries offering some of the best tasting carbs around. Below are a few local restaurants serving up dishes for those looking to gain a competitive advantage.

Gusto Handcrafted Pasta & Pizza

Tucked along Fremont Street in Seaside lays a carbo-loader's paradise. The authentic Italian eatery is stocked full of delicious carbohydrates with an array of artisanal breads, wood-fired pizzas, and handcrafted pastas. The mushroom ravioli in particular does not disappoint with its creamy gorgonzola sauce and accompanied walnuts for an additional crunch. Be sure to treat yourself to a delightful cannoli for dessert, don't worry, you'll burn it off tomorrow.

Carmel Bakery

For a quick dose of energy, pick up a delectable pastry (or two) at Carmel Bakery on Ocean Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Here you can get all sorts of baked goodies including Scottish shortbreads, English scones, Italian cannolis and giant soft Bavarian pretzels. For an extra jolt pair your treat with one of their specialty coffees.

Carmel Bakery in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Ho-Wah Chinese

For a Chinese spin on carbs head to Ho-Wah Chinese Authentic Restaurant in Marina. Here you will find all sorts of rice concoctions including their traditional steamed rice and fried rice specials like pineapple, BBQ pork and shrimp varieties. Their traditional chow meins and noodle soups are also irresistible and vital for revving up your endurance levels well into the next 24 hours.

Fandango

Head to Pacific Grove and grab a seat at the charming Fandango Restaurant. Here you can choose from an array of European (and hearty!) dishes like veal piccata, pasta puttanesca and steak frites. Don't forget about the complimentary bread and olives! 

Old Fisherman's Wharf

Take a stroll down Old Fisherman's Wharf and sample clam chowders from local seafood restaurants. Once you find your favorite flavor, order up cozy clam chowder bread bowl for the ultimate carb bomb.

Can't beat clam chowder in a bread bowl in Monterey, California

Peter B's Brewpub

If you prefer to get your carbs from a fried source then Peter B's Brewpub's tasty bar menu is sure to curb your craving. Start off with the chili cheese fries complete with their homemade buffalo chili or their jumbo Bavarian pretzel served with warm cheese sauce. Don't forget to order up their famous Monterey Bay calamari or fish n' chips!

il vecchio

If you can't tell by the name, il vecchio is an Italian foodie paradise. Authentic dishes include pasta carbonara, basil gnocchi, ricotta cannelolli, prawn pasta and puttanesca penne making it almost impossible to choose just one!

il vecchio